2015. It has been a good year for hip hop, but of a specific type. All the key releases in the hip hop scene this year have been pretty heavy stuff; Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre, Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Drake and more, have not allowed themselves a lot of time to relax, instead choosing to focus on the big issues (as well as themselves). While this is all good and progressive for the genre, it is nice to have differentiation from the crowd, and asides from the strange collaboration release of Surf by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, jubilant hip hop releases have been thin this year (correction: GOOD jubilant hip hop releases). So what better artist to remind us of the simple pleasures of feeling fun than one simply called V1BE. Continue reading
Well this is interesting.
It seems odd to think now, but Beach House, the relatively faultless dream pop duo, have almost been making albums for 10 years. Over that time, their star has grown and grown ever larger and brighter as they let fans into their wonderfully insular and sonically comforting world. Whether lo-fi or glossy production, their sound has maintained an unshakable individualistic identity that has served to influence much of popular music within the new decade. Most notably, Beach House have popped up as a prominent sampling source for the likes of Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd. Amidst all of this, Beach House’s Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have maintained a refreshingly humble demeanour. They seem to realise the attention placed upon them, but they do not wish to bask in it. They just make music of pure emotional honesty, and ask us to respect their privacy. So far, this has been a good relationship, despite an ever-growing audience. And, seemingly as a reward, Beach House have released Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, two albums, not even two months apart from one another, breaking tradition from the standard “one album ever two years formula”. And as I did not manage to review Depression Cherry when it came out in August, I figured an analysis of both would be more acceptable. And besides, due to certain themes and issues spread across these albums, it actually makes more sense to discuss both and outline the reason why they were released so close to each other. Continue reading
Do you know something that is surprisingly difficult to create? Feel-good, catchy, and ebullient hip hop. However, upcoming San Diego hip hop duo V1BE do just that on their second single Plastic Dolls, a follow-up to their first, Dream Out Loud, which sounded like a holy mash-up of Kanye, Grizzly Bear, and The Beach Boys. Plastic Dolls takes a more conventional route in regards to hip hop, but by no means does that detract from its brilliance.
There is so much to love about this track. The way the saxophone just glides along the undercurrent, the smooth-as-hell chorus line, the not-to-preachy subtext of shallow beauty and excess. Plastic Dolls is firmly placed in a proud tradition of good time hip hop, especially A Tribe Called Quest, but never seems like a simplistic style adoption. These guys exude the fun they’re having, which makes it all the more fresh. Also, props to one of the funniest lines you’ll come across this year; “We tried to dance to one more song/then the DJ said “Everybody say Ho!”/and everbody left ’cause his computer broke”.
For some quality hip hop to enjoy without a care in the world, look no further than V1BE and Plastic Dolls.
Album Two Brothers out 16th October
As the year draws to a close, it is important to remember that there is still plenty of amazing tracks trickling down the pipe of the music industry, and many worthwhile up-and-coming musicians hoping to get their face out there before the holiday season starts up. Here are a couple of September’s most intriguing musical outings. Continue reading